Professionalising workplace wellbeing: Bridging the gaps through training

Male College Student Meeting With Campus Counselor Discussing Mental Health Issues

In recent years, the focus on workplace mental health and wellbeing has increased significantly. However, our ‘Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz’ reveals substantial gaps in current practices. As we delve into the findings, it becomes clear that there is an urgent need for professional training to address these challenges comprehensively as mentioned in this article by Suzy Bashford.

This article aims to highlight these gaps and challenges and equip HR and wellbeing leaders with the insights into what to look for in a training provider when it comes to professionalising their wellbeing lead responsibilities.

The cornerstones of effective wellbeing strategies

In today’s ever-evolving and competitive business world, employers are constantly seeking ways to enhance the wellbeing of their employees. A well-crafted Wellbeing Strategy can significantly impact a business’s overall success and sustainability. But what are the main goals of such a strategy for Wellbeing Leads?

Goals of wellbeing strategies

According to the recent results from our Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz, HR aim to achieve a variety of goals through their wellbeing initiatives. The primary objectives include improving employee health and wellbeing, increasing employee engagement and satisfaction, and fostering a positive workplace culture. Superior goals to aspire to in any wellbeing strategy.

However, without the right knowledge, skills, tools, and development for HR and Wellbeing Leads, goals aren’t being met, return on investment isn’t being measured, and poor mental health and wellbeing continue to rise as employees leave employers to find healthier places to work.

Here are five top insights from 100 Wellbeing Leads on the gaps in their strategies that are preventing them from achieving their goals.

1. Developing and delivering effective strategies

The results of our recent Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz paint a concerning picture. A whopping 71% of respondents have not received training on how to develop and deliver effective mental health and wellbeing strategies. This statistic is alarming, especially considering the increasing awareness of the importance of mental health in the workplace.

Without proper training, Wellbeing Leads are struggling to create and implement effective strategies that support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. This can lead to higher levels of stress, burnout, and decreased productivity, and that’s just in HR!

2. Psychological risk prevention and management

Our recent Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz results also showed that 65% of respondents do not have a Psychological Risk Prevention and Management Programme embedded in their mental health and wellbeing strategy. This is a point of concern as Work Related Stress Prevention is an HSE legal obligation for employers and is the number one cause of work-related sickness absence.

Work Related Stress is a significant issue that can have a detrimental impact on employee wellbeing, productivity, and overall business success. Work Related Stress has also been estimated to be the cause of around 10% of suicides in the UK. Without a proactive approach to managing psychological risks, organisations run the risk of experiencing higher rates of burnout, absenteeism, disengagement, and potentially suicide among their workforce.

3. Suicide prevention and postvention

Our recent Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz reveals that 72% of respondents do not have a suicide prevention strategy and postvention plan in place, indicating a significant gap in workplace mental health support, despite MHFA training trending for the past five years and the Construction Industry being impacted by over 500 employee suicides every year.

Suicide prevention is a critical aspect of any comprehensive wellbeing strategy, addressing one of the most serious and devastating outcomes of poor mental health. By having a prevention strategy in place, which should include Work Related Stress Prevention, organisations can proactively support their employees and reduce the risk of suicide.

Additionally, a postvention plan is essential for providing support to those affected by a suicide in the workplace, ensuring they receive the necessary care and resources to cope with the loss.

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4. People manager development

Our Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz has sparked some interesting conversations. It seems that 76% of respondents do not have mandatory people manager development in fostering mentally healthy cultures embedded into their organisation’s wellbeing strategy. This is a concerning statistic, as it highlights a potential blind spot in many businesses when it comes to supporting employee mental health and wellbeing.

While mental health awareness training is a step in the right direction, it’s clear that it isn’t enough to create a truly supportive and mentally healthy environment.

With 1 in 3 employees ready to leave their job due to poor management according to the Chartered Management Institute, providing managers with the tools and training they need to support their team members’ mental health can create a more positive and healthier workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent.

5. Addiction and recovery support

Despite the increased focus on mental health within workplace wellbeing strategies, support for addiction recovery is often overlooked. Addiction remains one of the last taboos in the workplace, with only 6% of respondents to our Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz reporting recovery-friendly practices as part of their strategy.

You can read more about the impact and how to create a Recovery Friendly Workplace in my article here.

Overcoming the biggest challenges in workplace wellbeing

As you can see the results from our recent Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz highlight five significant gaps in strategic wellbeing that require improvement for impact. We also found many challenges that Wellbeing Leads are facing when it comes to implementing effective strategies. Here are the top three challenges reported in the quiz.

1. Ineffective data collection and analysis

One of the key issues highlighted in the quiz results is ineffective data collection and analysis. Without accurate data on the mental health and wellbeing of employees, it can be difficult for companies to understand the impact of their current strategies and make informed decisions about future initiatives. This lack of data also makes it challenging to measure outcomes and demonstrate a return on investment, which in turn can make it harder to secure the necessary budget for wellbeing investments.

2. Budget constraints

Another common challenge identified in the quiz results is the lack of budget to implement effective solutions. Additionally, 76% of wellbeing strategy leads did not have budget decision-making power. While many companies recognise the importance of mental health and wellbeing, they may struggle to allocate the necessary resources to invest in the gaps and improve the challenges. Without adequate funding, it can be difficult to provide the services and support that employees need to thrive in the workplace.

3. Poor employee engagement

Poor employee engagement in wellbeing activities is a significant challenge for many Wellbeing Leads. It’s crucial for employers to recognise that every employee is unique and may have different needs when it comes to mental health and wellbeing. A one-size-fits-all approach is often ineffective.

Addressing these challenges

The results from our quiz suggest that there is still work to be done in developing effective mental health and wellbeing strategies in the workplace. Providing the right training and development for wellbeing leads is essential for addressing these issues so employers can create a more supportive and healthy work environment for their employees.

About the author:

Emily Pearson is Founder and managing director of workplace wellbeing training and consultancy Our Mind’s Work. She has over 25 years of experience working in the health and social care sector and nine years in the workplace mental health and wellbeing field, supporting HR and Wellbeing Leads across the globe to develop and deliver impactful mental health and wellbeing strategies. To see how your organisation measures up and to identify areas for improvement, you can take Emily’s Wellbeing Strategy Maturity Quiz here.

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